It’s been a long time since I went to four bars in one night. But, when I was in New York City, over the Columbus Day weekend, I felt compelled to try some of New York Magazine’s top-rated bars. I also asked my good friend, Sesolf, for recommendations, and we embarked on the classic bar hop.
(Here’s part one of a two-part post on the night.)
First up, was PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy-style lounge in the East Village. PDT has everything you’d expect – intimate ambience, superb cocktails, and the obligatory secret entrance (you enter through a vintage phone booth located within Crif Dog, a hot dog joint). It was my favorite place of the night. Not only is the place quite civilized (see etiquette rules), the cocktails were inventive and down-right good.
Referred to on the menu as a “Caipirinha Collins,” and it was. Light and refreshing, it was the perfect cocktail to start the night.
Served over ice in a collins glass
This drink has a thicker consistency and interesting herbal flavors.
Strained and served in a martini glass
- Jose Cuervo Tequila
- Lemon Juice
- Strega (bittersweet herbal liqueur)
- Red Jacket Orchard Apple Jack Butter
The glass is filled with perfect crushed ice and garnished with mint. One trick we learned – flick the mint leaves to release the sweet aroma right before serving.
- Tanqueray Gin
- Krogstad Aquavit
- Pineapple Juice
- Lemon Juice
- Muddled Blackberries
(Next up: a basement bar akin to a rabbit hole, a faux speakeasy.)
S&C is becoming a fan of Jason Wilson’s Spirits column in the Washington Post’s Food Section. This week, he gives us the low-down on misunderstood Tequila – and, as a bonus, we get some excellent drink recipes.
I’m sharing it here, because it is better than any research I could do on the liquor. Jason Wilson went on an agave pilgrimage, to see first-hand the life cycle of tequila’s base ingredient. He visited distilleries, sampled agave pulp – all to understand tequila’s complex characteristics. But, he also wants to refine tastes, and change drinkers’ perceptions of the spirit (i.e. those that think tequila is only good for the 21st birthday shot, it’s a low-quality liquor, and it should only be mixed with pre-made, sickly sweet bottled mixers).
Tequila isn’t quite as complex as wine, but there are geographical areas (Jalisco highlands and lowlands) to note, and there are three basic types to understand: blanco (pure), reposado (rested), and añejo (aged).
I’m far from an aficionado, but I whole heartedly support the notion that if you have good ingredients available, (a) use them, if resources allow, and (b) if you use them, do not, under any circumstances, drown them with overpowering, artificial mixers. I’m actually a bit of a snob when it comes this point. I promise you – you can make a better cocktail without those bottled mixers. And by better, I still mean easy, simple, and affordable. Take a look at these recipes: Paloma is more popular in Mexico than a margarita (grapefruit tastes better with tequila than lime); Sangrita is a spicy drink that literally translates “little blood,” and, the Tamarind Margarita is a sweet and spicy frozen drink. Sounds delicioso!
posted by Ms. S&C